Valley Public Radio News

Hear local reports on the economy, government, education, health and the environment on Valley Public Radio during All Things Considered, Morning Edition and Valley Edition. 

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Health Care
5:52 pm
Tue May 21, 2013

Medical Procedures Vary By Region, According to New Study

A map from a new study by the California Healthcare Foundation displays the geographic disparities in certain medical procedures, in this case, induced deliveries.

Depending on where they practice, doctors in different parts of California are more likely to recommend certain procedures. It’s a phenomenon called “variance.” A study from The California Healthcare Foundation shows it’s a consideration both patients and physicians should be aware of. The Foundation’s Maribeth Shannon says doctors might not realize what they’re doing.

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Environment
4:35 pm
Tue May 21, 2013

Environmentalists Lobby To Change Brown's Proposal For Cap and Trade Funds

file photo
Credit Valley Public Radio

Environmental groups have begun a lobbying campaign to stop California Governor Jerry Brown’s budget proposal to divert money from the cap-and-trade program.

Environmentalists say money from the sale of carbon pollution permits is supposed to go to programs that help further reduce emissions. Brown wants to borrow $500 million for the general fund.

Vien Truong with the Greenlining Institute says environmental advocates are angry. She says that money could be used for clean air programs in low-income communities.

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Arts & Culture
8:44 am
Tue May 21, 2013

Fresno Composer Fuses Classical, Mariachi, To Bring Music To Kids

Composer Benjamin Boone is working to fuse classical music and mariachi and bring music into the schools.
Credit Rebecca Plevin / Valley Public Radio

This weekend the stage of the Saroyan Theatre will be filled with hundreds of young musicians, with hundreds more in the audience. It’s all part of an effort by a Fresno composer to break down the boundaries between classical music and mariachi, and to bring young audiences into the world of music, in a fun, interactive way. Valley Public Radio's Rebecca Plevin reports.

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It’s Sunday afternoon and the Youth Philharmonic Orchestra is rehearsing a new, mariachi-inspired song.

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Government & Politics
12:05 pm
Mon May 20, 2013

Brown Going After Enterprise Zones in Budget Proposal

Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Governor Jerry Brown is proposing drastic changes to California’s Enterprise Zone program in his latest budget. The zones are located in blighted areas and businesses operating within them can claim tax credits from the state.

Craig Johnson is President of the California Association of Enterprise Zones. He says Brown’s changes would essentially eliminate the state’s 40 Enterprise Zones. He says the state already has high taxes and high regulations and eliminating tax credits won’t help.

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Education
12:29 pm
Fri May 17, 2013

Welty Offers Advice For The Next Fresno State President: 'Have A Thick Skin'

Fresno State President John Welty (file photo)
Credit FresnoStateNews.com

Fresno State President John Welty will retire this summer, bringing an end to a 22-year tenure as head of the university. He recently sat down with Valley Public Radio's Joe Moore to reflect back on his career.

Interview highlights:

Welty on advice to his successor:

Good luck, have a thick skin, and take time to laugh at yourself from time to time.

Welty, (who is a member of the NCAA Board of Directors) on paying student athletes:

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Development Watch Blog
7:44 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

Fresno To Get High-End, High-Rise Downtown Restaurant?

The top two floors of the 16-story Pacific Southwest Building could soon be home to a new restaurant and lounge, according to city officials.
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

UPDATED: 5/17/13 (see below)

Could Fresno foodies soon be enjoying a gourmet meal at the top of the tallest privately-owned building in Central California?

Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin suggested as much  with this interesting nugget of information during her State of the City address today:

"Plans were just submitted in this particular city's downtown for a high-end restaurant and lounge on the 15th and 16th floors of the tallest building in Central California."

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Government & Politics
5:34 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

New Study Gives Snapshot of Realignment Results

(file photo)
Credit California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

The California Corrections and Rehabilitation Department offered a glimpse today of how realignment is working. The program diverts low-level offenders to county jails in an effort to reduce state prison overcrowding.

A study done by the department compares inmates released pre- and post- realignment. It found post-realignment offenders were re-arrested at a lower rate than pre-realignment offenders. Both groups were convicted of new crimes at nearly the same rate. The department’s Jeffrey Callison stresses this is just a snapshot.     

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Government & Politics
5:13 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

Assembly Passes TRUST Act, Again

Democratic Assemblyman Tom Ammiano says the TRUST Act will prevent immigrants from being deported for relatively minor infractions. (file photo)
Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

The California Assembly has passed a bill that limits when local law enforcement agencies can turn undocumented immigrants over to federal authorities. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento.

The TRUST Act says local police cannot turn undocumented immigrants over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement for minor crimes. Democratic Assemblyman Tom Ammiano says this will prevent immigrants from being deported for relatively minor infractions.

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Government & Politics
4:42 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

Swearengin Focuses On Business, Industry Growth in 'State of City' Speech

Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin delivers her 2013 "State of the City" address

Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin says the the city's economy is on the road to recovery in 2013, thanks in part to growth in the local food processing sector.  

"I'm telling you that things are getting good around here when it comes to industrial expansion and expanding our food business," Swearengin told the crowd. 

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Government & Politics
12:21 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

Democrats Pushing to Limit Prop 13

Credit Photo used under Creative Commons from Andy Patterson / Modern Relics / http://www.flickr.com/photos/modernrelics/4461010654/

Some Democrats at the Capitol are attempting to chip away at California’s fabled Prop 13. But supporters of the property tax limiting measure are digging in to fight back. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento.

Proposition 13 limits property taxes in California. But it also requires a two-thirds vote of the public to increase any special taxes. Six Democratic sponsored bills making their way through the Senate would lower that voter requirement to 55 percent approval.

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Government & Politics
5:43 pm
Wed May 15, 2013

Attorney For Family Of Bakersfield Beating Victim Speaks Out

Credit Kern County Sheriff's Department

The attorney representing the family of the man who was fatally beaten by Kern County Sheriffs deputies May 8 is speaking out today. In an interview with Valley Public Radio, David Cohn said that the way the agencies are handling the case is appalling.

“Our biggest concern is that evidence, and primarily videos that were on cell phones was likely to altered, lost or destroyed and essentially our biggest fears have now become a reality.”

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Government & Politics
12:35 pm
Wed May 15, 2013

Brown Proceeds With Caution on May Budget Revise

California Governor Jerry Brown has released an updated budget proposal that includes more money for schools this year….and less overall spending next year.
Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

California is expecting to end the fiscal year with a few billion dollars more than anticipated. Governor Jerry Brown is proposing spending the money on schools, but not much else. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento on Brown’s May budget revision.

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Government & Politics
4:10 pm
Tue May 14, 2013

Lawmakers React to Brown's Budget Revision

Credit Creative Commons licensed from Flickr user Glenngould / http://www.flickr.com/photos/for_tea_too/1957375742/

Republicans at the State Capitol are pleased Governor Jerry Brown is taking a more moderate approach to spending California’s budget surplus. But they still have some criticisms. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento.

No formal rainy day fund, no acknowledgement of possible union pay raises, high taxes that hurt business. State Republicans listed those as among their top concerns with the Governor’s May budget revision.

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Health Care
4:01 pm
Tue May 14, 2013

Brown's New Budget Calls for State-Based Medi-Cal Expansion

California Governor Jerry Brown’s revised budget proposal shows clear intent for a state-based Medi-Cal expansion under the Affordable Care Act. January’s budget suggested a possible county-led expansion.
Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

 California Governor Jerry Brown’s revised budget proposal shows clear intent for a state-based Medi-Cal expansion under the Affordable Care Act. January’s budget suggested a possible county-led expansion.  

California Health and Human Services Secretary Diana Dooley says the budget also proposes a way the state will seek to capture money counties currently use to treat the uninsured.   

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Government & Politics
3:08 pm
Tue May 14, 2013

Brown's Updated Budget Proposal: More Money to Schools, But Not Much Else

California Governor Jerry Brown is proposing an updated budget that he says is balanced, solid and maintains fiscal discipline against efforts to restore years of deep budget cuts.
Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

California Governor Jerry Brown has released an updated budget proposal that includes more money for schools this year, and less overall spending next year. 

His spending plan for the fiscal year that starts in July includes about $1.3 billion less than his January proposal.  Brown says the state’s economic picture has weakened due to the federal sequester and the federal payroll tax change.

“We have climbed out of a hole with a Proposition 30 tax. That is good, but this is not the time to break out the champagne,” says Brown.

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Arts & Culture
9:38 am
Tue May 14, 2013

Fresno's Swede Fest Celebrates Cinema, Do-It-Yourself Style

Credit http://swedefest.com/

On Sunday May 19th, Fresno's Tower Theatre will feature some of Hollywood's biggest films. But you aren't likely to see many stars or Oscar winners on the screen. Instead, Swede Fest 11 will feature a collection of 20 low-budget, summarized recreations of Hollywood's most popular movies, all shot by amateur filmmakers.

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Environment
1:21 pm
Mon May 13, 2013

New Google Tool Shows Remarkable Timelapse of Fresno Growth Since 1984

A screen capture of a satellite based timelapse of Fresno's suburban growth from 1984 - 2012
Credit http://earthengine.google.org/timelapse

A new timelapse tool released this month by Google provides Fresno residents with a stark reminder of just how quickly much of the city's nearby agriculture land has been replaced by homes, shopping centers and freeways. 

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Health
10:04 am
Mon May 13, 2013

California Soda Tax Proposal Sparks Debate

Credit Valley Public Radio

California lawmakers are considering a measure that would tax sugary drinks a penny per fluid ounce. The proposal is intended to cap soda consumption in order to reduce obesity rates. Health Care Reporter Pauline Bartolone in Sacramento has found a range of opinions on the soda tax.

It’s a hot afternoon in Sacramento’s Oak Park neighborhood. Teenagers are out of school for the day. Some have beverages in their hands. Kirk Allen is sixteen years old:

"What are you drinkin’?" "Tiki punch, Shasta."

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Government & Politics
6:19 pm
Tue May 7, 2013

Steinberg: Addressing Mental Health Can Reduce Prison Overcrowding

Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) discusses his proposals to increase crisis access to mental health services at a Capitol news conference Tuesday.
Credit Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

The top Democrat in the California Senate is calling for more crisis access to mental health services to help reduce the state’s overcrowded prisons. 

But as Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, the proposals likely wouldn’t satisfy a federal court order to reduce the state’s prison population.

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Environment
6:14 pm
Tue May 7, 2013

Brown Proposes Changes to Prop 65 Warning Signs

A Proposition 65 mandated warning sign sits inside a Starbucks in Fresno, CA.
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

It’s hard to go anywhere in California without seeing a little signs warning about potentially hazardous chemicals. Now Governor Jerry Brown wants to give those signs an update. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento.

Proposition 65 requires California businesses to post warnings about potentially hazardous chemicals in the air. The voter approved law has been in place since 1986. Now Governor Jerry Brown wants the warnings to be more specific and he wants to modify the law requiring where the signs are posted.

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